Monday, October 24, 2011

A Hydric Hammock

This photo was made yesterday in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, as a group of us were about to paddle Sanders Creek from the Dixie Mainline bridge to the Gulf of Mexico. It shows what I am calling a hydric hammock. The uplands on both sides of Sanders Creek consist of swamp, with baldcypresses and hardwoods. Slightly lower in elevation, the creek bottoms support marsh punctuated by cabbage palms. The water in the creek is tidal and brackish. At this point, about four miles from the Gulf, smooth cordgrass, black needlerush, and sawgrass are found in close proximity. Respectively the three species are characteristic of salt marsh, brackish marsh, and fresh marsh, and they are separated here by slight differences in elevation. Blue crabs were abundant in the clear water of the creek.
Making a Living in the Adirondacks

Lisa Bramen has an interesting article in the December 2011 issue of Adirondack Life magazine. Titled "Live Here, Work Here," it explores the employment options for someone who wants to live in the Adirondacks. The options (find one of the rare jobs, telecommute, start a business, commute to a nearby population center) remind me of a section on options for economic development in the Clifton-Fine community I explored in Gem of the Adirondacks.

The telecommute option I proposed in 2005 was unrealistic because the region had very poor electronic communications. Fortunately this is now being remedied by a new fiberoptic link that should make high speed internet service possible. Also an additional cell phone tower is planned that will offer service to much of the area.

The same issue of Adirondack Life carried the bad news that of 14 post offices in the Adirondacks proposed for closure, four of them serve the hard-luck Clifton-Fine community. The post offices are Fine, Cranberry Lake, Newton Falls, and Wanakena. Presumably the post office in Star Lake would serve the entire community. As the article noted, having a post office is important not only for mail delivery, but is also important in promoting cohesion in small communities. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fifty Years Later

Last weekend I went to the 50-Year Reunion of my high school graduation from Our Lady of Mercy High School. I had not been back since graduation night. I thought high school was totally behind me and really had little to do with me today.

But walking into the auditorium changed that perspective. I could almost see my parents, my grandmother, and my sister Kathy, all now long gone, sitting there cheering me on. I remembered my brother Pat there in that all-girl place to celebrate with me, the oldest of the Rooney kids.

I felt the Moving Up Day spirit, the fun of Prom night, the May Day music, the Field Day excitement, the applause of all the plays when I worked the lights and backstage equipment. I wished Kathy had gone to Mercy too, instead of the "new" high school she went to. That was a weird feeling. I do not remember thinking it when she was in high school.

What do you know, Mercy is part of who I am after all. The discovery surprises me more than a bit.